Better by the Dozen fundraiser to benefit NYC youth shelter hit by Sandy

Mon. December 10, 2012 9:16 AM by Anthony Morgano

Better By The Dozen 12-12-12

Chicago, IL - Jean Leigh of the Leigh Gallery has joined with Northalsted businesses for the Better by the Dozen fundraising drive to raise money for the Ali Forney Center (AFC), a vital services organization for homeless LGBT youth in New York City. The AFC was hit hard by Hurricane Sandy in October, suffering irreparable damage to their drop-in center located on West 22nd street, only half a block from the Hudson River.

The drop-in center was "dedicated to our most vulnerable kids, the thousands stranded on the streets without shelter... where they received food, showers, clothing, medical care, HIV testing and treatment, and mental health and substance abuse services," Carl Siciliano, Executive Director of the Ali Forney Center said in a letter posted on their website, describing the center as "a lifeline for LGBTQ kids whose lives are in danger." AFC offers emergency shelter and transitional housing in seven residential sites in New York.

After hearing of the devastation from best friend Jack Bethke, a psychotherapist at the Ali Forney Center, Jean Leigh, who owns the Leigh Gallery at 3306 N Halsted, mobilized support from other businesses on the Northalsted Business Alliance board to put out and promote a donation jar for the organization. They jumped at the chance to help out. Funds raised will go towards allowing the Ali Forney Center to expedite a move to a new drop-in center, which will offer services 24 hours a day, as well as continuing to provide services during the interim.

"It is a great opportunity to take care of our own. Charity begins at home -- we are all family, be it Chicago or New York," Leigh told "I just wanted to do my part and through the word of mouth by many wonderful people I was hoping to do some good for AFC."

On 12-12-12, The Leigh Gallery and participating Northalsted businesses DS Tequila Co., The Gourmet Grape, Minibar and the Kit Kat Lounge & Supper Club are challenging donors to give $12 towards the fundraising effort. Donations can be made by visiting any of these visiting any of these establishments, or by going online to the Ali Forney Center's website: